mediocre games with slamming soundtracks

Sometimes there are games that are just like… fine or whatever, but the music is really excellent. Because the game isn‘t so interesting, often these soundtracks go under the radar. The quintessential example is tim follin’s pictionary title screen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzTDAgG4EXk

Why is the pictionary title screen such a jam? that's because tim follin rules, but anyway, that's the idea.

I'll share a couple more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfQAGxhXpaQ
Virtual Casino has music by the Hokkaido-based Joe Down Studio which did music for games like Chocobo Mystery Dungeon and the final fantasy DS remakes. This soundtrack vacillates between new jack swing, vocal soul, and what I'd call "sega in-house music" (samba, organs, brass) and absolutely rules, especially as you get deeper in (see for example bgm 5, 6, 7). There are some forgettable tracks in there but as an album I think it's solid overall, because when it hits it hits hard. The game of course is just a casino game.

Here's another one I've shared in a general thread about game music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgQJ6_jkEDQ

It's an F1 game, your mileage may vary on those (lol), but when it comes to straight-to-the-cheeseball rock soundtracks I can't think of a better one than this. As F1 games go it isn't spectacular, but the soundtrack certainly is.

So... no exceptional or remarkable games in here, only crappy or middle of the road ones. With soundtracks that feel like they're underappreciated and simultaneously the only reason anyone should look at the game in 2021.

Oh I've got the perfect one for this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2Z8ZBXNDRg

I used to play this game at my grandma's house. Loved it to death back then, but playing it again it's pretty mediocre. But the soundtrack always stood out to me, even as a kid, especially the title screen song. Such a banger.

ah man I never played 7iME LORD but I like this title screen (and also the music is good). I love the thing where they do the same melody constantly but change the bass/underlying melody to make it appear more variable.

The Basiscape soundtrack Opoona got comes to mind. What little I played of the game made me feel like my time was being taken for granted before I turned it off, but the soundtrack is great and I was listening to it a whole lot just before the pandemic hit Ottawa, so it reminds me of… you know, that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7l1oJytWWo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXzmY3dZVtg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC650hRjol0

Posted some of these before but Nobiyuki Shioda had a knack of creating incredible soundtracks for minor games:

https://youtu.be/0bLzLT3-zXA
https://youtu.be/PPLWYlhNFBc
https://youtu.be/W_yKB4o0p2M
https://youtu.be/8X-NrBETaUg

A bit of a cheat, but Way of the Warrior. Wow did the soundtrack choice here make this game into something wild

Also since it's White Zombie I can't embed the video, so [watch it here](https://youtu.be/q5IbvVbmTkc)

But yeah, its so early in the world of licensed music that its not like a bunch of random artists or a collection from a single record label (See Road Rash 3do) its one band and almost every song they had released at that point in time.

I am really just here for the inevitable hot takes about Nights Into Dreams or any game by Insomniac but in the true spirit of this thread, I’ll reiterate that Hashimoto Hikoshi’s talent was really wasted on B-tier Sega projects.

https://youtu.be/2pFVSdQGi3s

https://youtu.be/UP5oG8L9Vr4

https://youtu.be/gV2g26hHKBg

https://youtu.be/6fIRukvYwKk

That Shin-chan game also includes a “jan-ken-poi!” (48:37) sound effect that one might presume is sampled speech but is actually FM audio, meticulously tweaked by Hashimoto to sound like a voice.

One of my go-tos is [Dragon Drive: D-Masters Shot](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BE1zDzA9yQ), a Japan-only Gamecube game by Treasure, based on a forgotten Jump property—the music's by Toshiya Yamanaka, the former Arsys composer who spent a few years at Treasure, and it's essentially an extension of his work on Sin & Punishment; he didn't return for S&P2, so if you were disappointed by the sound of the sequel, D-Masters Shot should give you what you're looking for.

@“gsk”#p45490 Reminds me of how all the sound effects in Vagrant Story are generated directly from the hardware rather than from samples.

@“Syzygy”#p45493

Something about listening to that first banger and then reading "🞁 _Battery Back-Up Saves Up To 3 Games_" was very funny to me

Gran chaser's about racing hover crafts except they control like huge sluggish ships. Music is fun in that cheeseball way tho.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fZSZvb2Q3k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEnP1dbKgMA

https://youtu.be/BZE1VKX5WXM

These are some real good results!!

@connrrr I really wanted to like Opoona as a game... it was so weird, and a full, large wii RPG from Koei when most folks (outside of Nintendo) were making minigame fests, but you could feel right from the start that they were going to draw the thing out and make it a grind fest. Their express desire was to make it a casual light RPG for kids and families to play during dinner or whatever, so I don't know how they got there. Good soundtrack though! Especially the "beats to study to" sections.

@chazumaru yeah, good stuff - Racing hero has a fantastic Sega sound, and cyber brawl has a couple absolutely masterful tracks in it, especially cylic's stage fully armored (though this version you're showing is recorded on a chintzier machine so I'm gonna share the better version).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ9qouRxwDM&t=478s

I wonder how hashimoto got stuck in this B-zone, was it bad luck, bad management, or somebody didn't like him?

@gsk riiiight, I knew there was some reason I wanted to buy dragon drive d-masters shot - it was the sountrack!!

@Syzygy mystic quest would be a great candidate for a genesis music interpretation, considering all the crunchy guitars they're trying to do. a brief google proves I'm not the first person to think that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igoWUBmlOdI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gwb7b1rurz4

@seasons gran chaser is a great example. This is a game I super disliked as Cyber Speedway. It was mediocre and the music sucked. But then I played Gran Chaser, the japanese version of course, and was like NOW I GET IT. But really it was just that the music was fun and fit the vibe real well.

@treefroggy death crimson is the ultimate saturn kusoge I guess, so any music is an improvement.

Haunted Castle isn't just a mediocre game, it is an awful game, but it has some pretty great tracks in it

https://youtu.be/UnUH9V5lwAI

Pretty much absolutely any game made by Ocean. Even their completely unused tracks are complete bangers on games like The Flintstones

@“Syzygy”#p45632 It’s amusing in retrospect that Nintendo ended up getting the weird non-mainline parallel FF games with the Crystal Chronicles series. We never really got an exhaustive and critical retrospective of that whole bizarre endeavor, have we? There are over 2200 characters from 450 games with over 1100 music tracks in Smash, including Final Fantasy stuff, yet nothing related to Crystal Chronicles! It’s like the series vanished. Most of the games do have a slamming soundtrack, too.

////////////////////

Speaking of Final Fantasy, I would not qualify the following as a _slamming_ soundtrack but I think it’s a case worth sharing in the context of this discussion. 🇯🇵**Gundam True Odyssey** (🇺🇸**MS Saga: A New Dawn**) was a perfectly serviceable, quickly forgettable RPG developed on the once upon a time almighty Renderware engine for the PS2 in the later stage of the console’s career (2005). The game ticks all the boxes of a standard JRPG, except you are piloting Gundam robots during the turn base combats. It’s aggressively okay. Akiman is taking care of the character design, but not trying his hardest either. The game was a flop, but it’s not considered terrible or anything. It’s just that nobody really found a reason to give a shit.

I mention it here because I find the soundtrack downright distracting with how hard it tries to be a Final Fantasy soundtrack. It’s physically impossible for me to get invested in the game as I am always under the impression I am stuck in a secret pop quiz trying to guess which Final Fantasy episode was ripped off for each track.

https://youtu.be/3Q6ycJWY738

https://youtu.be/7hyMwL8fl2w

https://youtu.be/8u5BuXAAZ1A

https://youtu.be/LQM5T2gAElk

https://youtu.be/rWf4y7Jrk0M

https://youtu.be/qjqNmmzst5o

This is a strange case where I believe a good – if unoriginal – soundtrack is paradoxically doing disservice to an alright game. The composer, [Makino Tadayoshi](https://vgmdb.net/artist/7165?tab=products), ended up fulfilling his destiny by collaborating on the [FF7 Remake soundtrack](https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_VII_Remake_Original_Soundtrack).

Not a mediocre game but check out Adder's theme from Advance Wars Dual Strike this shit rips so hard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoS58QW2ZEc

I actually haven’t played most of the games I listen to music from, so I’m going of what I’ve heard or assumptions… hopefully none of these are good games:

https://youtu.be/4ogHmfimvAk

https://youtu.be/RygtxUEQAeA

https://youtu.be/-tIQ-w6MKlA

https://youtu.be/4qttXevv-h8

https://youtu.be/1KgBIaVJ_tE

https://youtu.be/ilniTKSPN-8

https://youtu.be/sqz5ncE-Ygk

https://youtu.be/5hwUcwBGD5o

https://youtu.be/iJqi2gVv0jY

about half of alpha’s channel probably fits this thread


I suppose some would call Guardian War for 3DO mediocre…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7PkmNgFSrk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXnWPqvsra4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vqP0Hbk_QY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkjlAR5v634
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBqk68Wgbnk

@“NoJoTo”#p45719 yeah DD crew hasn't aged well but the soundtrack is fun. My head was bobbin up and down to this while mindlessly dropkicking everything.

https://youtu.be/KpRM3leXG68

As much as I like the genre, beat em ups might be a good source for this thread.